Rush Ehrhart seemed a bit hesitant to select a college of his choice, so much so his parents told him, “don’t be afraid to say yes to someone.”
Ehrhart, perhaps, was looking to get himself into a comfort zone with a school, one where he was at ease with the challenges baseball and academics had to offer. Coincidentally, he was in a comfort zone, of sorts, one afternoon in September when Gettysburg coach John Campo returned a call to Ehrhart’s cell phone.
“I was driving with my Diamond Jack teammate Chris Markovich,” said Ehrhart. “We were going to his girlfriend’s soccer game. The phone rang and it was coach Campo. I looked at Chris and paused the music. I answered the phone and told him that Gettysburg is the place for me.”
Yes, nervous readers, Ehrhart’s phone conversation in his car with his college coach was hands free, but expect North Hunterdon’s senior center fielder to be very much hands on come Friday, Day 1 of high school baseball practice sessions in New Jersey. Ehrhart has been selected as one of the Lions’ captains for the 2020 season.
“Rush is a very talented baseball player,” said North Hunterdon coach Mike Kane. “He has incredible work ethic and a constant drive to succeed, not only on the field but also in the classroom.”
Ehrhart started all but two of North Hunterdon’s games in 2019, a season in which was atypical for the Lions. North Hunterdon finished 12-13 overall last spring and 4-4 in the Skyland Conference Raritan Division. But the Lions did battle down the stretch, winning four of their last six games, including victories over conference powers Ridge and Hunterdon Central.
“We return just four starters but, as a group, we have confidence in our ability,” said Ehrhart. “Our expectations are high. It’s a different atmosphere being a senior.”
Ehrhart hit the weights hard this off-season and sees that benefiting him all around. “I’m aggressive, work hard and I’m getting noticeably stronger as a hitter,” he says.
Kane is certainly pleased by what he has coming into the new season with Ehrhart.
“Rush is a multi-tool player,” says Kane. “He can track down almost any ball in the air, has excellent base running skills and is a tough out at the plate. He can spray the ball all over the field and can bunt very well when necessary.” Kane will also use Ehrhart as a reliable reliever.
Coming off a productive 2019 high school season which Ehrhart, nonetheless, would have liked more from, he went about fine tuning and improving his game over the summer and fall in the Diamond Jacks program out of Diamond Nation in Flemington.
“The summer went pretty well,” says Ehrhart. “I learned a lot of new things from coach (Chris) Brown. He was very influential as college scouts were hitting me up every week. Coach Brown put me in a position where I could show off my skills in the outfield.”
Brian DelRosso had the reins of Ehrhart’s Diamond Jacks Gold 17U squad in the fall as the longtime DJack stepped up his game in center field and at the plate. “I was already committed by then and was feeling less pressure,” said Ehrhart. “It allowed me to have fun. I really got along with ‘Delro.’ He taught me a lot of things about baseball and life, as a man. He’s helped me become a better player and a better person.”
DelRosso, a Phillipsburg grad who pitched and batted briefly in professional ball, saw some impressive things in Ehrhart as a young ball player. Ehrhart first joined the Diamond Nation program as a 13 year-old.
“From the day I met Rush at a young age, I can remember how easy it was to coach him,” said DelRosso. “He always wants to learn and is passionate about his success in the game. Rush is also well-mannered, respectful and an all-around hard working student athlete. All those intangibles will be a key to his success as he goes on to his next journey at Gettysburg. I’ve had the pleasure of coaching him all these years and watching him grow into the strong, dedicated and determined player he is today.”
Ehrhart knew Gettysburg was the right fit for him for so many reasons and it all started with a winter prospect camp he participated in at the school in 2019.
“I met assistant coach (Justin) Perry at a summer showcase after my sophomore year,” said Ehrhart. “And then I met coach Campo at the prospect camp. I got to see the campus and really liked it. But I kept looking around at the point.”
Ehrhart visited Gettysburg the following summer, took a tour and met with an admissions rep. “The school had so much to offer and there was nothing not to like. Then coach Campo invited me up a couple weeks later and I got to tour the baseball facilities, have lunch with a player and talk to the team. It’s a good atmosphere.”
Before you knew it, Ehrhart was playing phone tag with his future coach and soon that call came to his cell phone, in his car, with one of his boys, in that comfort zone.
“It’s funny, after I told coach Campo I was coming to Gettysburg, his voice changed, like he switched over to being a father figure, making me feel so welcome and a part of Gettysburg. What was weird, right after I hung up, the battery on my phone died.”
And quickly Rush recharged his phone and charged into his senior year of high school fired up about what lies ahead.
Did you know?: The other North Hunterdon baseball captain in 2020 is Rush Ehrhart’s Diamond Jack teammate Haydn Strycharz. … How rare is the first name, Rush? It’s not very rare at all in the Ehrhart family. In fact, this Rush is the sixth Rush in the Ehrhart family.